Here goes nothing…
So today marked a momentous occasion. I managed to knock down a band from charging my company $15,000 dollars to costing nothing.
How, might you ask?
Well, it all started with a small YouTuber community Facebook page.
For those of you who have been hiding under a rock and who are not yet peeved with my constant spamming across all available social media platforms – I started YouTube last summer.
With almost no camera or editing experience, I joined a couple of small YouTuber Facebook groups. Little did I know at the time that most of these groups were full of people trying to spam their channel desperately hoping that someone would watch their content. Through all the bs however, I connected with real people who really helped. One such active member was called Sophie Stanley. One day she posted a video from her fiancé who plays in a band called Febueder (I still don’t know how to pronounce it either). Being the avid music listener that I am, I figured I would give them a listen. It turned out that they were fantastic. For all your indie rock geeks, they are like a reincarnation of Alt-J.
When I first heard their song ‘Paramount Tether’ I instantly conceptualized a music video in my head. I pictured snow, a girl being pursued through a forrest by a guy who I presume wanted to sexually assault her (welcome to my mind!) I could see the camera angles, the story I wished to tell. I reached out to Sophie, and she directed me to her fiancé’s Facebook.
I messaged him all excited, giddy with the idea. One day passed. No response. One week passed. Still no response. I was annoyed, but I understood. The band had just incidentally had the song featured on a video for Red Bull. It really is a fantastic video. Their song comes in at 3:12.
So I was not surprised that little old me would not get a response as this would be their breakout year. This video was released in December.
Fast forward to a couple of weeks back, and my mind was conceptualizing what is now known as ‘Impower’. I wanted a way to kick off the business that suggested that it was not created by two college-aged kids.
I had an idea, but at the time I knew it was going to be difficult to pull off. I wanted to launch a hype commercial that encapsulated the business’s greater mission of changing the world for the better. I therefore wanted to show that good and bad have always existed and will always exist, but we have a choice – we either help or we don’t.
It sparked the quote that would eventually feature in the commercial.
“The Issues we face are not black and white but our decision to act is”.
We either act, or we don’t; it is black and white.
So I wanted to split the commercial in half: the first half would be black and white with historical events that depicted both good and bad. The second half would be in color and would represent the balance of good and bad today, with an emphasis on the good. I needed a song however that I felt could tie it all together.
You guessed it! I wanted Paramount Tether.
So after unsuccessfully managing to even pitch my commercial idea, how on earth was I going to afford the opportunity to get the licensing to the song? Well, I went back to Sophie Stanley and explained what had happened about the commercial. Thankfully, she wasn’t annoyed by my second inquiry and suggested that I spoke to their manager and even managed to send me his email.
So I did what any excited person would do, and immediately emailed the manager, including in the message the fact that I knew Sophie. There was no response for about a week, but then out of nowhere, I got a response. The manager requested what platform the commercial would be shown on and how much of the song I intended on using. Again excited, I replied straight away, but it would be another week before I would hear back.
When the email finally came, my heart sunk. The manager was requesting $15,000 for the licensing of the song for one year (yes, you read that right!). So here I was, thinking it would be $200 at the most, for a relatively ‘unknown’ band compared to the likes of Ariana Grande. But, as I have already spoiled the punchline above, I managed to get the licensing for free.
I had two choices: I either accepted that I could not simply afford this fee or I could reply with my circumstances and see if there was any way I could get the fee reduced. I groveled, admittedly. I did not lie, however. I explained that I was a student and that I was creating a brand that was trying to change the world for the better, including our 10% donation to a charity of the consumer’s choice. I took a deep breath and pressed send.
It was a long few days. Finally, the manager responded. To my surprise, he said he would speak with the band and see if they would let me use the track for free. I was in shock. Could I have possibly just acquired the song for free? It was too early to believe so, but I potentially had one foot in the door…
Lo and behold, Tuesday morning I received a response. I could not believe it. They had approved to let me use their song. I could not believe it. If you want to check out the commercial before its official release on Impower’s social media, check out the video below!
The moral of the story—as reflected in the title of my first blog, and indeed the end of the video above— is that we must take risks, even if the outcome appears unlikely. If I did not reply, I would have had no music for the first commercial.
I urge you today, at whatever time, to take a risk, however big or small. Now, you do not have to contact a random band manager and try and acquire their music for free, but if there is something you have been hesitant about doing, do it.
When talking about risks, I always tell people the same thing. The worst thing that can happen is that you remain in the exact same position you are in now. If we do not at least try, we shall never know what that road may have taken us.
It is okay to be a little risky. After all, in the great words of Mr. Gretsky and Mr. Scott, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”.
I don’t really know how to conclude a blog but for those that got to this point, thank you so much! I would LOVE it if you could write a comment below to let me know:
a) You read this
b) What you thought about this
Even if you’re a super stranger to me and we have never talked in person or virtually, I would love to hear from you!